MASON — Fenwick’s high-pressure defense and offensive rebounding help propel the Falcons to a 54-34 win over Wilmington in a Division II sectional contest Friday night at Mason Arena.
Fenwick (7-16) advances to take on two-seed Taylor at 6 p.m. Thursday in Mason. Wilmington’s season ends at 10-10.
Extra opportunities earned through steals on the defensive end and offensive rebounds helped the Falcons to the win.
“One of the keys to the game was, we wanted to make sure we didn’t get outhustled by them,” WHS head coach Jermaine Isaac said. “They’re a good team playing in a good league. Their record doesn’t show how good of a team they are.
“We wanted to be the first ones to loose balls and diving on the floor. That’s not what happened today.”
Fenwick had 14 steals to just five for Wilmington and outrebounded the Hurricane on the offensive glass 14-1.
“Their length gave us even more trouble than we thought it would,” Isaac said. “Their shooters got going pretty early. Those threes feel like four-pointers sometimes.”
Wilmington trailed by 17 after three quarters. Six straight points early in the fourth quarter by Luke Blessing and Shane Griffith cut the WHS deficit to 11, 40-29, with 6:22 remaining.
The Fenwick lead was still 11, 42-31, with 3:38 left. However, the Falcons finished the game on a 12-3 run to put it away.
Kyle Evers Smith led Fenwick with 13 points. Jude Hooks added 12 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Blessing led Wilmington with 10 points and four rebounds. Collin Barker had nine points, while Kellen Baltazar added eight points.
Isaac credited his team with a great effort despite challenging circumstances away from the court this week.
“It was a tough week for our guys this week,” Isaac said. “We’ve got a lot of things going on outside of basketball. But, our kids played hard.”
Four Wilmington seniors wrapped up their careers Friday night: Baltazar, Barker, Cole Bernhardt and Avery Warix.
“Those guys had three head coaches in four years,” Isaac said. “That’s tough for college kids, for NFL players, for NBA guys, and especially for high school kids. We told them if we wanted to turn things around here, we need you to buy in as soon as possible. That’s what our four seniors did.
“They bought in from day one. It helped that I had coaches some of those guys in the past, so we already had a familiarity with one another. They wanted to leave the program better than how they found it, and they definitely did that.”
Isaac credited the seniors with helping develop the younger players in the program, laying the foundation for future success.
“They connected with the younger guys and made them feel part of the team,” Isaac said. “Help those young guys have a voice and find their voice. Those seniors did that. Our four seniors are not only good basketball players but good young men.
“They’re definitely good role models for our young guys, and we’re proud of them.”
Friday, Feb. 18, 2022
At Mason High School
Fenwick 54, Wilmington 34
(54) FENWICK (fg-3fg-ft-tp) DJ Brown 2-0-0-4, Ryder Thompson 3-2-0-8, Kyle Evers Smith 3-2-5-13, Nathan Beatty 1-1-0-3, Isaac Strunk 0-0-2-2, Kiefer Gavigan 1-0-0-2, Wes English 2-0-0-4, Bailey Temming 1-0-0-2, Jude Hooks 5-0-2-12, Carrson Sova 1-0-2-4. TOTALS 19-5-11-54.
(34) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Luke Blessing 3-1-3-10, Mikey Brown Jr 1-0-0-2, Kellen Baltazar 4-0-0-8, Cole Bernhardt 1-0-0-2, Collin Barker 3-2-1-9, Shane Griffith 1-1-0-3. TOTALS 13-4-4-34.
FIELD GOALS: F 19/55 (Hooks 5/15, Evers Smith 3/6, Thompson 3/6); W 13/32 (Baltazar 4/11, Blessing 3/6, Barker 3/6)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 5/15 (Thompson 2/4, Evers Smith 2/4); W 4/7 (Barker 2/3)
FREE THROWS: F 11/17 (Evers Smith 5/6); W 4/6 (Blessing 3/3)
REBOUNDS: F 35 (Hooks 8, Temming 5, Brown 4, Evers Smtih 4, Gavigan 4); W 28 (Bernhardt 7, Blessing 4, Brown Jr 4, Barker 4)
ASSISTS: F 8; W 7
STEALS: F 14 (Hooks 5); W 5
BLOCKED SHOTS: F 1 (Sova 1); W 6 (Bernhardt 4, Killen 1, Brown Jr 1)
TURNOVERS: F 7; W 19